Thursday, November 5, 2015

Should the Philippines establish its own Submarine Force?

When Japan invaded the Philippines in WWII, in the Western Pacific, the Philippine submarine fleet was second only to Japan in terms of quantity, and was at par or even superior to Japan in terms of quality.  Unfortunately, faulty peace-time torpedoes blunted the effectivity of this force in resisting the Japanese invasion.

But they did admirably well in other areas.  After all, they successfully rescued Pres. Quezon and Gen. MacArthur from the humiliating fate of Japanese incarceration.

Since being granted independence in 1946, however, the Philippines appears to have forgotten this glorious submarine tradition.  Until now, no submarine force has been established for the Philippine Navy.

This was acceptable in the past when the mighty US Navy was still based at Subic. But not anymore.

We are now facing a creeping invasion by China in our western borders.  The enemy has already breached the gates.

We have already lost Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal.

So, now is maybe the right time to do some soul-searching as a people.  On whether or not we need to establish our own attack submarine force.

Just what can attack submarines do that  ordinary warships cannot?

Warships can be easily tracked by 
spy satellites and other aerial surveillance sysytems.  In the modern battlefield, therefore, they will seldom have the element of surprise on their side.

An attack submarine, on the other hand, is very hard to track once it reaches blue waters.  And they can be clandestinely pre-positioned in strategic locations far from their home country.

Thus, an attack submarine is the only weapon platform that can provide a credible long-range retaliatory strike capability to a financially-constrained country (like ours) against an aggressor with satellite surveillance and overwhelming first-strike capabilities (like China).

China, for example, can easily locate with her satellites and neutralize with a surprise first-strike all our warships (and fixed-wing aircraft).  But if we have an attack submarine force, some if not most of our subs, will be able to elude detection.  And live to fight another day.  Which is exactly what happened to the Philippine submarine fleet in WWII.

Thus, even a small country like the Philippines must establish her own attack submarine force.  Just to send a message to would-be invaders.  That we have the capability to retaliate against any form of military adventurism.

At times and places not of their own choosing.

Even in their own territorial waters...

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